A series of on-going workshops and creative consultations on the politics of capacity and resource sharing.

Created and facilitated by Shaista Latif in association with Koffler Centre for the Arts and Why Not Theatre.

There is an economy to everything; a cost, a transaction.

What we are able to give and to receive is influenced by our individual and collective understandings of class and identity.

Through acts of play and hospitality, multidisciplinary artist Shaista Latif invites workshop participants to reflect on differences of identity and to use these concepts as navigational tools rather than limitations..

Organizations, students, teachers, artists, and businesses are all invited to participate in this process of exploration aiming to interrogate systems of power, challenge assumptions, and inspire positive reflection and change in our communities.

“This work is about class, authorship, agency and autonomy but I am no expert,” explains Shaista Latif. “Assessing the language of invitation and hosting, and how it translates into action is the foundation of How I Learned to Serve Tea. I choose to do this work by asking questions.” Read Latif’s full artist statement here.

At the workshops, participants are greeted by an array of carefully arranged items. Prompted to action by a series of questions, participants are encouraged to interact with the objects as a group. As implied in the name, tea is served – but the number of teacups is limited. Through facilitated dialogue, participants explore the dynamics of power as guest and host; aiming to understand what it takes to make space for others.

Through acts of play and hospitality, Shaista Latif encourages workshop participants to reflect on differences of identity and to use these concepts as navigational tools rather than limitations. Workshops will form the basis of an extended research process underpinning an exploratory public performance work or exhibit to be produced in 2020.

Workshops are for groups of 5 to 40 people and run 1.5 – 3 hours each. Workshops are subsidized for qualifying organizations or collectives. No one turned away for lack of funds! For more information or to book a workshop please contact: taliesin@theatrewhynot.org

Why Not Theatre, along with Koffler Centre for the Arts are working with Shaista Latif as an artist-in-residence throughout the year while she conducts this series of workshops. We first encountered Shaista during RISER 2016 and have been inspired by her work ever since. We are so pleased and proud to be able to support her research and process for a full year, unlocking the potential of her creative work by removing financial precarity from the equation.

Produced in association with:



Wednesday, February 12, 2020 | 6 PM & Saturday, February 15, 2020 | 3 PM
BMO Incubator for Live Arts, The Theatre Centre | 1115 Queen St W, Toronto
TICKETS: Pay-What-You-Can-Afford $10 | $20 | $30

A special presentation of Shaista Latif’s How I Learned to Serve Tea is part of this year’s Progress Festival. DETAILS & TICKETS.

About Shaista Latif
Shaista Latif is a Queer Afghan-Canadian multidisciplinary artist, consultant and facilitator. Her works have been presented by Koffler Gallery, Ontario Scene Festival, SummerWorks, Why Not Theatre, Blackwood Gallery, Mercer Union, the AGO, Halifax Queer Acts Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and recently the Undercurrents Festival. She is a published playwright (Playwrights Canada Press) and voiced the character Soraya in the Oscar-nominated film The Breadwinner. In 2020, Latif will be touring her critically acclaimed show The Archivist around Ontario. Her latest work Learning the Language of My Enemies was recently presented in conjunction with Nevet Yitzhak: WarCraft at the Koffler Gallery.

About Why Not Theatre
Why Not Theatre is an agile, international theatre company based in Toronto, Canada, rooted in the values of innovation, community and collaboration. Our work is inventive, cross-cultural, and reflects our passion for the exploration of difference. We challenge the status quo, by examining what stories are being told, and who is telling them. More than just a theatre company, we develop creative strategies to build a healthier and stronger arts ecology. We MAKE and tour critically-acclaimed and award-winning new work, SHARE resources with other companies and artists to produce and tour their work, and PROVOKE change through new producing models and the presentation of work for new audiences. We are led by a core team of Founding Artistic Director Ravi Jain, Managing Director Owais Lightwala, and Executive Producer Kelly Read.